Fraud is simply the intent or the act of misrepresentation to cause a gain or loss. It is estimated that in 2013, fraud cost the UK economy £52bn.
With limited resources, SMEs typically prioritise innovation, growth and survival over due diligence, internet controls and risk mitigation. However, this approach leaves SMEs particularly vulnerable to fraud.
Here at The Change Organisation we feel it is necessary to follow a strict procedure to combat the increasingly intelligent and creative fraud that UK businesses are now facing. We are very proud of our tight controls and would like to share our practices with our customers.
Here is an overview of the procedures we have in place.
- All customers must fill out our credit application form in full, and the form must be signed by a Director of the customer (cross checked against Duedil (https://www.duedil.com) and our Credit Insurer’s records)
- The completed application form must be accompanied by the customer’s VAT certificate, Certificate of Incorporation and a copy of their headed paper.
- Once in receipt of the documents provided by the customer, they are checked and double checked by the relevant sales consultant and one of our credit controllers. The area we look at are as follows:
- Company name cross referenced against a fraud warning database
- Company Registered and Trading address match those on our Credit Insurers records
- Company address entered into Google Earth to verify business address
- Company website checked on “scamadviser” (http://www.scamadviser.com) to ensure the website is legitimate.
- Company website also checked on “Wayback Machine” (https://archive.org/web) to check how long the website has been active, and to see any changes made to the website over the years
- Trade references contacted
- Google searches carried out on random paragraphs from the customer’s website to see if the same wording appears on other websites.
- If in doubt, the credit control team speak directly to the prospective customer at their registered address to verify they are applying for credit.
- Once the account application has passed this scrutiny and the customer account is set up, the fraud prevention control doesn’t stop there:
- The first order for newly setup accounts MUST ship to the customers verified trading address. Direct to sites are not permitted on the first order
- Where credit is unobtainable, cleared funds must be received prior to shipping
Our fraud procedure is updated on a regular basis to ensure we always have the best practice in place to protect our company from fraud.
Action Fraud is the UK’s national fraud reporting centre where you should report fraud if you have been scammed or defrauded. The service is run by the National Fraud Authority – a government agency that helps co-ordinate the fight against fraud in the UK with the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, run by the City of London Police.
You can report fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.